With the new year upon us, there are so many goal setting articles out there and it tends to be a bunch of “New Year, New You” mumbo jumbo so we asked the Warhorse coaches for some of their biggest tips and tools when setting goals for themselves. So whether or not you’ve set milestone goals this year or you just want to accomplish really cool shit, give this a read for some helpful ways to stick to the script.
Ben – Coach
I’ve been using the Calendar Method since last winter’s Warhorse seminar with Greg Nuckols. This tool has helped me to track my process goals and take care of a lot of the little things in my life that I need to remember to do every day.
I have used it to prioritize everything from getting enough protein, vegetables, and water, going to bed earlier, or even more professional goals like reading more and getting my school work done during stressful times.
I have a pocket calendar, like THE ONE BELOW from Amazon. I will set a goal (eventually two or three after I’ve been successful for a while with my first goal) and give it a symbol or abbreviation, like ‘S’ for SLEEP, ‘P’ for PROTEIN, ‘W’ for WATER, and so on. On my calendar, I’ll write my symbol on each day of the week or month.
When I complete a goal for the day, like getting 8 hours of sleep the night before (S) or a gallon water that day (W) I’ll cross it out. If I complete all my goals for the day, the whole day gets a big X through it. I want to accumulate as many X’s per week or month.
It feels really good to collect those X’s on my calendar. If I’m having a rough week, I might set a mini-goal getting a few X-out days to get back on track. I’ll even incentivize myself with a steak dinner, new workout clothes, or a good beer after a streak of successful days.
If something is important to you, do it every day. Track it. Follow through. Succeed.
For other references, here is that amazon link: AT-A-GLANCE DayMinder Monthly Pocket Planner
Julie – Coach
Around this time of year the talk starts. New Year, New You. Frequently, this has everyone thinking about overhauling their lives and making sweeping changes to who they are as a person and how they live their life. I’ve found this to rarely work unless the need is so great that the consequence of not making such a drastic change is devastating.
Instead, I propose doing the littlest thing you can to help you achieve your goal. THE SMALLEST THING. As in, the tiniest, most laughable-if-I-don’t-do-it thing. Say you want to make it to the 8 AM class, but you can’t get out of bed before 7:45 and there’s just not enough time to jet out the door. This week, set your alarm for 7:44. If you can’t get out of bed 1 minute, a mere 60 seconds, before you were waking up yesterday, good luck getting up 15 minutes earlier. Then, when that tiniest change feels normal and do-able daily, make the next smallest change. Maybe that’s waking up at 7:43 or, dare I say, 7:40? Eventually you’ll be heading to the 8 AM class and it won’t feel like a massive change to your day, but one that you can live with for, who knows, the next year?
It’s easy to say that Jan 1st, next Monday…or Jan 1st, 2019 are great days to start a new you. The appeal of a fresh start is real. But, what’s also real is burnout and exhaustion from trying to do too many things too soon. So, this year, my goal is to have a shorter to-do list, but to actually cross things off of it. And, to do (haha!) that, I’ll be working on the smallest thing everyday.
Jon – Coach
If you’re reading this it means we made it to 2018 without nuclear war. Congrats! I think we can all agree that 2017 definitely had
some high highs (like the Salt Bae meme) and some low lows (such as the male romper phase that needs to die). And with a new year comes new hopes, admirations, and ambitions (and hopefully more memes). Unfortunately most people who set out with a specific goal fall flat before the month is over, particularly when it comes to health or fitness related goals. And it’s not because people are lazy or unmotivated, it’s usually because we are hardwired to resist change and stay without our comfortable, preprogramed routines.
In a lot of cases routine is good – like brushing your teeth every morning – but sometimes routines can be detrimental – like binge watching Netflix after a long day of work. Now before you go trying to break your routine cold turkey, don’t, routines can’t be broken. They can, however, be rewired. Often that means creating a new “cue” or reminder to help keep you accountable. Cues can be internal (i.e. “I’m going to eat more slowly and not past the point of feeling full”) or external (i.e. “I’m going to pay my co-worker to punch me in the face if I’m sitting for more than an hour”). Often, but not always, external cues are more efficient than internal cues; they’re quantifiable and objective. And one of the easiest, and most effective external cues you can create, is to LITERALLY WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN! No, not on your phone, like actually write it down….with a pen…..with ink. And from there, put it somewhere you’ll regularly see it. Think of it as a metaphorical punch in the face.
A perfect example of this is that I stole from strength coach Greg Nukols is buying a calendar and writing down 2-3 quantifiable things you can do each week that will help with your main overarching goal. This could be as simple as getting 7-8 hours of sleep, drinking a gallon of water, and/or getting to the gym. Every time you hit a goal, put a checkmark down on that date. At the end of each week or month, tally up your checkmarks and aim to beat that number the following week or month. You’ve now broken your main goal up into tangible, measurable, and trackable objectives and you’ve created a new external cue by writing out your goals where you’ll constantly be reminded. Bonus: You now have a calendar to mark down other less important things, like your sister’s birthday, or Arbor Day. Before you know it, you’ve created a new routine by using nothing more than a pen and a calendar. Often the simplest things are the most effective.
Jaclyn – Co-founder of Warhorse Barbell Club
Many of you will try to make new year’s resolutions and I can almost guarantee that the majority of you won’t see them through as planned or make it as far as two months. Instead of setting crazy expectations for yourself, try changing a habit (or two) this year! In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about “the Habit Loop”. You know…you get up, have a cup of coffee, shower, go to work, etc. The same thing day after day and boom, you’re stuck in the loop. There’s a cue, a routine, and a reward. A cue would be something like, it’s 3pm and you’re craving something sweet during your mid-afternoon crash. The routine would be to grab a sweet treat. The reward is then that you feel like you’ve satisfied your craving. And the beat goes on and on and on and…
Even though you may be thinking all habits must be negative or lead you down a path of self resentment, you’re wrong. You can totally use the habit loop to help create positive habits! I’m really bad at taking vitamins and anything else that I should be taking as a healthy woman. So for 2018, I’m going to use the Habit Loop to start taking a fish oil supplement every day. I always have a drink of water before getting ready for bed so now I’m going to incorporate taking my fish oil supplement with that glass of water so I’m creating a new habit. Boom! Cheers to creating strong and healthy habits this year!
Wes – Coach
Passion and purpose are two of my personal favorite things to have in my mind by putting it somewhere I can see. Writing down the why behind what you want to do (you can have brainstorm session for this and narrow it down to one or two sentences) and posting it somewhere you can see on a daily basis, such as your laptop, smartphone, or planner, might help you stay on track. A question I ask myself if I am feeling super unproductive or lac luster in motivation is what is my purpose right now? Passion and motivation may not always be in your gas tank but you can always come back to purpose (your WHY). Looking at your purpose and asking yourself in the moment can put a new lense on you for the right here and right now which is really all we have.
Chris – Co-founder of Warhorse Barbell Club
Everyone loves a planner or some type of calendar. I for one am not a fan. I don’t like Passion Planners and I don’t really care for the Best Self Co Journals. Trust me, I’ve made honest attempts at using both and I’ve never had any success with them. If they work for you fantastic you can stop reading my portion of the article. My brain just isn’t wired to work that way. What I have found success with is a good old fashion Moleskin notebook. I generally start each day with writing down something I call Non-Negotiable Daily Tasks. These tasks generally consist of things that are decently simple. For example, today consists of the following.
+ Read 10 pages.
+ Be in control and stay focused.
My Non-Negotiable’s don’t generally change from day-to-day and I have a daily understanding that if I at a minimum complete everything on the list, at the end of the day I can go to bed decently satisfied.